Electric conversion of a general aviation aircraft: a case study

Electric conversion of a general aviation aircraft: a case study

Sergio Bagarello, Ivano Benedetti

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Abstract. This study analyses the process required to convert a conventional, air-breathing, piston-powered, General Aviation (GA) airplane to fully electric propulsion. The work is configured as a feasibility study for such modifications with the intent of setting a path for similar electric conversion programs on GA airplanes. The motivation behind industries’ interest in alternative propulsion is examined and a full comprehension of the characteristics of the plane in question is achieved through the acquisition of transversal knowledge, examining the aircraft both from the engineering and real-world user points of view. Electric motor, batteries, auxiliary systems and implementation considerations were all made in accordance with regulatory authorities’ requirements, with the purpose of making the project to comply with EASA CS Part 23. The present work analyses the performances expected from the electric plane and compares them with the standard aircraft evaluating the project’s pros and cons. Considerations regarding typical mission profiles show how the electric powerplant will allow the airplane to outperform his conventional counterpart in terms of rate of climb, pollutant emission reduction, noise levels and operating costs. Such gains are however counterbalanced by the detriment of range and endurance performances, which might be deemed acceptable considering the specific plane’s intended use. The study shows how, even though close integration in electric GA aircrafts is desirable since the first stages of conceptual design, piston-to-electric conversions are possible and may indeed contribute to mitigate aviation climate impact.

Aircraft Electric Conversion, Electric Propulsion, Electric General Aviation, Aircraft Conceptual Design

Published online 11/1/2023, 4 pages
Copyright © 2023 by the author(s)
Published under license by Materials Research Forum LLC., Millersville PA, USA

Citation: Sergio Bagarello, Ivano Benedetti, Electric conversion of a general aviation aircraft: a case study, Materials Research Proceedings, Vol. 37, pp 431-434, 2023

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21741/9781644902813-95

The article was published as article 95 of the book Aeronautics and Astronautics

Content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.

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